The former underwear model fills us in on Paul the Angel.
We all know that Drop Dead Diva survived cancellation and the fifth season of the Lifetime series premieres this Sunday.
But now that actor Ben Feldman (who played guardian angel Fred) has moved on to Mad Men, there’s a new celestial being to look out for Deb (Brooke Elliott), the sexy blonde who died and was sent back to live life in the body of a plus-sized lawyer.
Justin Deeley joins the cast in the season premiere as Paul, and according to creator Josh Berman he’ll be more playful than seasoned, and (thankfully for us) he oftentimes won’t be wearing much clothing.
I talked with Deeley and Berman on the Drop Dead Diva set in Atlanta earlier this month to learn a little more about the former underwear model… and break down what Diva fans need to know about his angel character.
“Had Me At Hello”: Berman told me that they’d been looking for the new angel for awhile before they found their man. “Justin Deeley walked into the room and had me at hello,” Berman said. “Not only is he talented, sexy, and funny – he’s also a gifted physical comedian with absolutely no inhibitions — which is a good thing since his character is half naked most of the time.”
Paul is just a big kid: “He’s the 6-year-old that lives within all of us,” Deeley said, with a grin. ”And the reason he is that way is because this is second shot at life. And, granted, he is the guardian angel. He has his responsibilities.”
Like us, Paul is in awe of his bod: Because the body that Paul inhabits is new to him, he’s like a kid in an eye-candy store. “He’s got this body that he never could have,” Deeley explained. “He never really worked out and he never did that kind of thing. He says, ‘Look at what I can do! Look how strong I am!’”
A ‘Yes’ man/angel: With a new body and second chance, Deeley explained, “he’s just a guy that’s going to say yes more this time around.” However, Paul will be reminded that there is a reason he is on Earth again. “As the season progresses though, he knows his responsibility to Jane,” Deeley said. “And he really looks up to her in a lot of ways, almost like a sister, is how I kind of see her to Paul, because he admires her in a lot of ways.”
Paul and Justin are a lot alike: As child-like as we’ll see Paul, Deeley admitted he didn’t have to delve too deep to find his inner child. ““I’m very goofy. I’m very into dancing alone. I just love that spirit and I’m glad that it lives within me and it’s really fun when you get to “pretend” to do it and to do it for a job is great.”
To sing or not to sing: Deeley gushed about his love country music growing up listening to artists like Garth Brooks. Does he have hidden singing talents? “I’m a one of a kind,” he said with a laugh. “I’m original but I’m quite bad.” He said he’s done karaoke but the response is usually the quiet sound of crickets from the audience.
Angel 101: Of how Paul will fit into the new season, Deeley explained that Paul is “just kind of getting his footing in the firm and working as an intern and that sort of thing.” Seeing Jane as a role model will inspire him as well as build a familial bond. ”I think as the season progresses, who knows what we’re going to see, but I think you’re going to see him kind of take on maybe the big brother role at times.”
“It’s just a human body.” Asked if he is still self-conscious about taking off his clothes, Deeley explained, “I work very hard on myself physically, in training and that sort of thing, so no.” His character seems to take the same line of thinking since the actor said Paul has a line in one of the episodes where he says, ‘It’s just a human body.’”
But with a lot of the action in the series happening in the law firm’s offices, does Deeley long to get the chance to be in suits and ties? No way! “I’d rather have my wardrobe if it means I have to be naked every once in a while as opposed to wearing a suit all the time,” he said.
Naked Angels: Berman teased that we’ll want to watch episode 3 (airing July 7th) when Deeley “is completely naked but for a shampoo bottle that covers his private parts,” he said. But proving just how fun Deeley likes to have, Berman revealed, “in one take, [Justin] dropped the shampoo bottle all together, wearing nothing but a great, big smile. The cast and writers adore Justin, who plays the character of Paul, and I’m quite certain our fans will fall for him as well.”
Maybe we can hope that that moment was captured for the DVD extras.
Drop Dead Diva airs Sundays at 9pm on Lifetime.